Navy chief cites urgent need to phase out aging assets

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There is an urgent need to decommission aging assets of the Philippine Navy (PN) so that naval personnel will be given sufficient training and skillsets to handle new ships which are in the pipeline, its chief said Tuesday.

“The only way to modernize is to retire old capabilities so we can train or capacitate our personnel for new capabilities,” PN flag-officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said in a message to reporters.

He was responding to questions on the formal decommissioning of the service patrol corvette BRP Rizal (PS-74) and patrol killer medium gunboat BRP Nicolas Mahusay (PC-119) at the Capt. Salvo Pier, Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City set on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Empedrad said they are scheduled to receive two new missile-armed frigates, the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) by May and September this year as possible replacements for these ships.

These ships are capable of anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine warfare.

“We (also) hope to acquire (an) additional ‘Pohang’-class corvette from the ROK (Republic of Korea) Navy,” Empedrad said.

Empedrad’s remarks were echoed by Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas.

“This is in line with the PN strategic plan of moving from legacy vessels to more capable and modern vessels,” she added.

Roxas said the decommissioning will allow the PN to transition into a “more and advance level of personnel training and materiel acquisition that will conform to the demand of the evolving maritime challenges.”

BRP Rizal was acquired by the Philippines from the US on June 12, 1965, and it served 54 years while BRP Nicolas Mahusay was acquired from South Korea in 1998 and served the Navy for 22 years.

Meanwhile, Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said there is a need to phase out old ships as personnel manning these vessels will be the ones who will operate the new vessels.

He added that these vessels have also outlived their usefulness which means they can no longer perform well in their designated missions as their speeds and other equipment have deteriorated through their long service. PNA.GOV.PH